What is a Medical Power of Attorney?
A Medical Power of Attorney is a document that designates the person you authorize to receive medical information on your behalf and make health care decisions for you if you are unable to make them yourself due to a medical emergency.
Imagine your 20-year-old is off at college, and an awful accident occurs. He ends up in the Emergency Room. The medical staff call to tell you that your child is in the hospital, but they cannot tell you any more information because he is over the age of 18, and you do not have legal permission to know his medical information. It’s a parent’s nightmare.
This issue can easily be improved by signing a Medical Power of Attorney. At Custer Financial Advisors, we encourage parents, family members, and friends to sign this form in case of an emergency.
Who needs a Medical Power of Attorney?
Anyone over the age of 18 should allow someone else to know their health information and make medical decisions for them should an emergency occur. A married couple should list a friend or family member, in case both spouses are unable to make decisions.
If I’m married, do I need a Medical Power of Attorney for my spouse?
No; if you are married, by law your spouse is allowed to speak on your behalf.
Do I need a Medical Power of Attorney for my child?
Not if they are under 18 years old. However, this is a very important form to fill out once a child turns 18, especially if they move away for college or a job.
May I have more than one person be on the Medical Power of Attorney?
Yes; you may authorize more than one person to receive your medical information in case of an emergency. Each person must be documented on the Medical Power of Attorney form.
Who should I choose to be my representative for my Medical Power of Attorney?
Make sure to choose someone you trust, who will be able to make hard decisions should the need arise. You should also feel comfortable talking with this person about difficult medical questions.
How will the person I choose know what decisions to make regarding my health?
Once you choose someone as your Medical Power of Attorney, discuss what your medical wishes are in certain situations. For example: if you are on life support with little chance of survival, would you want this person to pull the plug and let you pass in peace, or keep you alive as long as possible? Ultimately, the representative will receive all the medical information from the doctors and make a decision.
Steps to Creating a Medical Power of Attorney
1. Use a Medical Power of Attorney Form – make sure it is specific to your state.
2. Ask someone to be your Medical Power of Attorney and talk about your wishes.
3. Complete, sign, and date the form. You must have two witnesses sign and date the
form. Often, you will need to sign the document in front of a notary as well.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. For advice specific to your situation, please contact us.